I’m envisioning the presumably impending ability to aggregate RSS into a community in a similar fashion to git or email. The underpinning concept is as follows:

Git, email, and microblogging should all require minimal pain for the end user to switch from one service to another (e.g. from BitBucket to Github, from Name.com email to Google Apps for Business email). The migration might take a few hours but the workflow once resumed won’t change from what it was, and you shouldn’t have to retrain or migrate a community.1 However, while the end user migration is trivial, the infrastructure required to support a given implementation of the spec is non-trivial, and that’s ok. Analogously, it’s easy to understand and use the basics of git, but the code behind GitHub is very complex.

You can intercommunicate between differing email platforms. Someone on Name.com email can communicate with someone using Google Apps email. This should also work with Microblogging. Let’s say there is a competitor to Micro.blog. Your friend is on this competitor platform. You both own your own data. So you could be having a conversation by posting to your blog and seeing the replies from your friend, while they post to their blog and see your replies on their preferred platform.

If Google Apps were the only implementation that existed for email, it would not be clear to the community whether what Google offered were any more transferrable than a locked down communication tool like Skype. In other words, the proof that a given system doesn’t “lock you in” a la Twitter can only come when you have two systems in place and demonstrate that migrating from one to the other is a relatively trivial task for the end user, and that it does not noticeably affect the day-to-day workflow of that end user’s social sphere.

Micro.blog needs a friendly competitor. In a way that nothing else could, a competitor would make it clear that Micro.blog has accomplished what it set out to do.

  1. In the case of git, it’s true that you’d have to get your company to create accounts on the new git platform. But you wouldn’t have to get the entire software ecosystem to change. You could move to BitBucket and continue to rely on third party packages that are hosted on GitHub. It’s next to impossible to get 100% of your friends to switch from Twitter to App.net (now defunct, but that proves my point). It is possible to get your company moved from one git platform to another, however. ↩︎